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The Last Baklava

Fred was a friend.  He was witty, creative, short, and obese.  Extremely obese.  Every week we met for lunch three times.  Mondays we went to Switzer’s for pastrami sandwiches, sour dill pickles, coleslaw, and hand-cut french-fries.  Wednesdays we met at Francesco’s for fabulous spicy veal sandwiches on kaiser rolls with Brio, and Fridays we lunched at Bagels, for their once-a-week kreplach soup special.

At each lunch, Fred’s bill was always double my bill.  One day, moved to reveal himself for reasons I don’t understand, he admitted that he always arrived at the specified restaurant early, to have lunch alone before he had lunch with me.  He also revealed the he sometimes lingered after I left the restaurant.  He would then have a third lunch, and finish with a baklava. On this revealing occasion, Fred ordered a baklava for desert while I was still with him.

I had tried many times to convince Fred to lose weight for health reasons, and he often swore he would do it… but he never did.

Fred was just about five feet four inches tall, and I believe that his stomach was so large that if he lay on the ground on his back, his stomach would also be five feet four inches high.

ImagePerhaps his enormous obesity was a sub-conscious desire to be bigger.  Well, he certainly was bigger in his way.  I’m five feet nine-and-a-half inches tall and weigh about one hundred and eighty pounds.  Fred outweighs me by about one hundred pounds or more, despite being five or six inches shorter than I am.

The day after Fred revealed his dangerous triple-lunches to me, his wife called to tell me he was in hospital with veins bursting in his legs or something like that.  The following day he died.

I’ve lost a good friend to obesity.  Perhaps he had an addiction to food. In any case, I had decided years before not to nag at him.  He was a good person, intelligent and well-intentioned, so I left him to live his life, and he left me to live my life.

I’m now thirty years older than Fred was when he died.  Sometimes I think he wanted to kill himself, and he finally did it, with that last baklava.

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